Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles good for slow consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Michael Harriot has a brutal takedown of the response to the #takeaknee protests that just builds and builds relentlessly. An effective call for awareness (and call to arms) even for white people who supported the protests wholeheartedly.
Any mention of race is divisive because it overlooks the fact that every color and creed has problems. Some people have to worry about the leader of the free world trying to deport their children, vilifying their religion or referring to their mothers as bitches, while others have to live with the terrible burden of people constantly belittling their chicken seasoning and potato-salad-making.
We all have a struggle.
Recruited by Jarle Andhoy, a madman and self-proclaimed modern-day Viking, 18-year-old Samuel Massie miraculously survived an Antarctic expedition that cost three men their lives. Blair Braverman — who tells their story — drove sled dogs in Norway, led tours of the Alaskan glaciers, and has “adventurer” in her bio. You can feel her passion for the Earth’s most dangerous wild places, and her compassion for those who enter them, in this piece about an otherwise completely insane attempt at the South Pole.
When they left their final port in New Zealand, the Berserk carried five men and ten tons of equipment, including the ATVs, two kayaks, a dinghy, tents, metal ladders for bridging crevasses, food to last them six months, and matching wool socks and skull-and-crossbones hats knit by Robert’s grandmother. They were heading toward the most dangerous waters in the world, where waves could rise 80 feet, three times the length of the 27-foot boat. With the extra gear, the Berserk was top-heavy — but not, they hoped, enough to tip over and drown them. To this day, nobody knows if they were right.
Book archeology! In his profile of Thomas Lannon, archivist at the New York Public Library, James Somers investigates “BookOps” and the meticulous and brilliant people who transform the crumpled, the stuck-together, and the barely readable into the story of a city: the man whose existence was recorded only through a passing mention in a young socialite’s diary; the source material for the best-selling Killers of the Flower Moon.
This essay is a celebration of patience, a lesson in the ethics of information, and a reminder that the Internet, while vast, is not yet the sum total of what we can know.
That is the paradox of being an archivist. The reason an archivist should know something, Lannon said, is to help others to know it. But it’s not really the archivist’s place to impose his knowledge on anyone else. Indeed, if the field could be said to have a creed, it’s that archivists aren’t there to tell you what’s important. Historically momentous documents are to be left in folders next to the trivial and the mundane — because who’s to say what’s actually mundane or not?
I know it’s wrong to enjoy it when other people tank, hard — but hey, we’re only human. Kate Aurthur traces the not-so-gentle failure of Megyn Kelly’s new show, Megyn Kelly Today. If any of the criticisms in this piece — which include a suggestion that stars might be tricked into guesting, and an anecdote in which Jane Fonda cuts Kelly right off at the knees — seem harsh, remember that Kelly is reaping what she’s sown.
Does some of the disdain for Kelly come from her Fox News past haunting her? Are any of these people thinking of when she said, "For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white"; or her "racist demagoguery," in Jamelle Bouie's words; or, in the case of Fonda, resuscitating the image of "Hanoi Jane," just to stoke the Fox News base? I do wonder. Because even if the left projected feminist hero status on Kelly after she was the object of Trump's ire and for arguably being the final nail in Roger Ailes' coffin, she is still largely a cypher.
If you’re a better person than I am, instead read this piece about how stupid-smart our televison-addict president is. Despite that description, it is less a takedown than a considered argument about post-literacy and the difference between deliberative and performative culture.
Jason Kottke rips our hearts out in a handful of words, eulogizing a beautiful tree with a silly name. Patrik Svedberg has been photographing the Broccoli Tree for several years, in a series of images that show the tree in all its glory and humanity in all of ours. Until a recent act of vandalism, that is. RIP, Broccoli Tree.